Ricardo Aleman for El Universal (6-11-2013)
Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat
Although it's true that [current Governor of Tabasco] Arturo Nunez initiated the accusations of the Tabasco depredations, in the end, it will be the Enrique Pena Nieto government which will be responsible for pulling the chestnuts out of the fire.
The arrest of Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda, former Secretary of Finance in the government of Andres Granier, is no longer news. No; in any case, the news would be that during the first hours that he spent in the hands of the PGR (Attorney General) -- before he was delivered to the Tabasco Attorney General-- Saiz Pineda entered into an agreement to inform against all the "band of compadres" who looted Tabasco during the most recent six-year administration.
That's because, according to official information, the arrest of the former Tabasco Secretary of Finance "is just the tip of the iceberg" of an offensive scheme of corruption and looting that goes beyond Andres Granier and Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda. In reality, the PGR is going after the whole gang, made up of at least five people, all of them close friends of the former governor.
The funny things, however, is that, while the PGR is following the trail of the money, the looting and the corruption, the government of Arturo Nunez does not have a single bit of evidence to arrest Saiz Pineda, much less Granier Melo. Well, the Nunez people were not even capable of showing that the more than 88 million pesos seized from the former Secretary of Finance came from the state government. That's why they could not establish his official responsibility.
Despite that, the PGR "blood hounds" know that Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda is a key player in the looting of Tabasco state funds that took place during the Andres Granier administration, and that, "with his cooperation," the entire gang will be brought down.
For that reason, too, when he learned of Saiz Pineda's possible deal with the PGR, former governor Granier sent the message that he was willing to negotiate. He said in an interview that he would present himself to give a statement, which can be translated as a public offer to surrender himself in exchange for a political deal.
But one should ask, who is Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda?
1. It's not true he was always a wealthy man, as his defense lawyer has claimed. In reality, he comes from humble origins, product of a work culture and, because of his talent for finance, he became the accountant for a good number of Tabasco, Yucatan, Campeche and Chiapas potentates.
2. Of course, before he became the Secretary of Finance for the Granier administration, he was already well known as a "magician" for money laundering and tax evasion. Thanks to those "fine arts", not a few businessmen from Tabasco and from all the Southeast delivered the accounting of their firms into his hands, knowing full well that Saiz Pineda would come back with clean money, with money in foreign bank accounts, ready to fatten fortunes.
3. In fact, the 88.5 million pesos that the government of Tabasco seized did not come out of the administration's public coffers, but rather, they belong -- or belonged -- to one of his clients, who was weeping in the corners but who. for obvious reasons, cannot claim it. And the best evidence for this hypothesis is that in the first images, the stacks of money had the bank's wrappers, which were then switched for rubber bands. Why that subtle change? Because bank wraps are the money's DNA.
4. In reality, Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda became a nouveau riche with dizzying speed, as a result of his ability for tax evasion for his clients, qualities that earned him juicy profits he made no effort to conceal. Thanks also to those abilities, he was summoned by Granier, who required his services, not to better use public funds, but to steal them without leaving tracks.
5. It's laughable that the government of Arturo Nunez produced, as proof of Saiz Pineda's (illegal) enrichment, the image of a Ferrari F430, worth $370,000.00, and four motorcycles worth $80,000.00, when Saiz actually owned a fleet of six different Ferrari cars -- among other luxury vehicles --, in addition to properties in different vacation locations in this and other countries.
The curious thing about all this, however, is that even though it was Tabasco Governor Arturo Nunez who initiated the denunciation and the looting scandal in Tabasco, after pressure from AMLO and because of social pressure, in the end it will be Enrique Pena Nieto's government which will be responsible for pulling the chestnuts out of the fire. We still need to know who is in the gang of looters of Tabasco public money in Andres Granier's government. Because of lack of space, that part of the story will be a later article.